PSA Peugeot-Citroen Plots North American Comeback, Starting With Car Sharing

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The prospect of French cars once again being sold in the United States has gone from "never going to happen" to a strong "maybe."

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares announced Tuesday a 10-year plan has been started to reintroduce the company to the North American market, as part of the company's Push To Pass plan, but revealed few details. Instead, the first steps would revolve more around car sharing and mobility plans rather than actually trying to sell cars to dealers, according to Automotive News and Autocar.

The car sharing trial is scheduled to start in 2017 with Bolloré Group as a partner and using an electric vehicle that may or may not be badged with one of PSA's vehicle names. PSA and Bolloré agreed to collaborate last year on the Bluesummer EV. It already uses another EV in its car sharing program Autolib' in Europe and Blue INDY in Indiana.

Peugeot, Citroen and DS vehicles would be included in the car sharing program depending on its initial success and when those vehicles can meet U.S. requirements, Tavares said. The final step would be then to, "sell our own brands’ products in North America, eventually with local sourcing," he said. Reports have circulated for the last couple of years PSA would introduce the DS brand to North America, citing a need to introduce the upscale brand to large global markets so it could have a chance to rival the largest premium brands, such as Audi.

The slow approach to a North American return makes sense considering where PSA would start if it decided to re-enter the market. While it retained corporate offices in the U.S. for more than a decade following Peugeot's 1991 withdrawal from the market, PSA has no partner in North America to leverage a distribution network or manufacturing.

It's not the declarative statement French car fans in the States may have hoped for, but PSA is at least interested in returning to car sales in the U.S., 25 years later.

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